Business Name: D4 Software Ltd.
Business Stage: First product (QueryTree) about to launch
The Product: QueryTree is a tool that makes it easier for non-technical people to explore and visualise data sets such as marketing information or data released from public bodies. It has a very visual, drag and drop approach and doesn’t require the user to learn to code or write complicated formulas.
What makes QueryTree unique: QueryTree combines the most commonly used aspects of high end data analysis software, with a simple visual interface that’s designed to be usable on a touch device like an iPad, and makes it available in a web browser. There are plenty of complicated high end tools out there for full time data scientists, and there are some simple web apps that do some of what QueryTree does, but nothing with the power of QueryTree that’s this simple to use.
The D4/QueryTree story so far: I (Daniel Thompson) worked for many years as a developer then manager on software projects for large companies. Time and again I would be replacing complicated, spreadsheet based systems for reporting company information and I began to wonder if there was a simpler way to do it. Many people love spreadsheets and the power that they give them, but a lot more people find them frustrating and complicated. I tried to think of a way that people who aren’t full time data professionals, might be able tell the computer what they wanted. Something like, “take an extract from such and such a system, filter out these bits, then tell me the average for each category”. Then in October 2011, I sketched out the first drawing of what would become QueryTree.
I sat on the idea for a while, then eventually in May 2012, I decided to leave my job and start a company. I founded D4, got some work consulting on software development projects and began working on QueryTree in between. In the early days I would rent desks for the day at various places around Birmingham. I have two small children and working from home never quite works!
After moving to Innovation Birmingham Campus, 2012 I’ve had a successful beta testing phase, have hired someone else to work with me and am now ready to launch QueryTree to the wider world. There’s still a lot of things I want to add, many of the people in the beta test suggested features which we’ll be adding over the coming months, but the core of the system is ready and it’s time to start letting people get value from it.
When and why D4 moved to Innovation Birmingham Campus: I slowly became aware of Innovation Birmingham and what it does through the various community events and meet-ups that it’s involved in. A number of the other residence attended developer or technology focused meet-ups around the city and Faraday Wharf itself is often used as a venue for Birmingham events. I came along to Tech Wednesday, saw the facilities and spoke to staff about the incubation scheme; Entrepreneurs for the future and the support that it offers. In September 2012 I pitched my idea to a panel, it was accepted and I started basing myself here from October.
Best business tip we have to offer: Crikey, don’t take advice from me. Just between you and me, I’m making all this up as I go along!
How to see more of QueryTree: The website is QueryTreeApp.com, there’s a video of the app in action and you can sign up for a free trial and/or subscribe to our email newsletter, you can also follow us on twitter at @QueryTreeApp.
An interesting fact about your business or a member of your team: The name “D4” is based on Dan’s internet user name “d4nt”. He’s spent years trying to grab that user name on every new service that springs up.